DnD’s Unearthed Arcanas always spark discussion - such is the way of playtest content. There have been some great additions to the game (see: Gloomstalkers), and some… less than balanced ones.
In this latest edition, Wizards of the Coast have elected to tackle expanding the number of available feats. With 5e’s system as-is, choosing a feat comes at the cost of getting a +2 to ability scores at every 4th level… which, bluntly, is hard to beat out unless you are looking for particular builds or very powerful feats. Looking at you, Elven Accuracy.
(Picture: Wizards of the Coast)
WotC aim with this Unearthed Arcana then, is to open up the options available in feats, and offer more incentive to not just take flat stat upgrades. If you’re looking to tailor your build to a particular way of playing, these are worth a glance both as a player and a DM.
Keep in mind this is still just playtest content, and therefore not a full release (with all the balancing issues that entails) and DMs can and do reserve the right to ban out UA content!
That said, here are some of the notable additions worth considering - if your DM allows you, of course…
(Picture: Dan Dos Santos)
Time to fulfil all those battlemage fantasies! This feat gives a character proficiency with shields, a +1 to Strength, Dexterity or Constitution, easy donning and doffing of said shields - and most intriguingly, the ability for casters to use shields as a spellcasting focus.
Frontline caster builds have always been challenging due to low HP totals and limited access to armour, this feat might change things up. A Dex focussed Pact of the Blade Warlock with Armour of Shadows and this feat suddenly has a very impressive AC. Just get ready to fight the good fight with your DM about how shields interact with Mage Armour, and you’re golden.
Bonus Actions are always a valuable commodity in combat, and it can be a serious frustration if your character doesn’t currently have a way to effectively use theirs. Tandem Tactician is a way to get a very powerful bonus action option onto a character and resolve that issue.
The feat turns the Help action into a bonus action, increases the range and makes it affect two allies if they’re attacking the same creature. If you want to play the battlefield commander, this is a way to do it. Consider picking the feat up on a Mastermind Rogue if you want to double down on the benefits!
Crusher offers more battlefield control to your Monk. (Picture: Pinterest)
DnD has always struggled with differentiating the effects of physical damage, but these feats do a pretty good job of making the more mundane damage types feel more distinct. All of them give a +1 to Strength or Dexterity, and then add unique effects to attacks that deal their specific damage type (bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing respectively).
Piercer allows a single damage die re-roll on hit, increasing critical damage; Slasher allows you to reduce an enemy’s movement speed, and gives an opponent disadvantage on attacks on a critical hit; and Crusher allows you to forcibly move an opponent 5-feet on-hit once a turn, and gives you and your allies advantage on attacks against an opponent you critically strike.
Crusher’s battlefield control looks particularly strong, especially on classes like Monks who use primarily bludgeoning attacks with their preference for unarmed strikes. Just shove that evil overlord over the cliff, why don’t you?
You can find the latest Unearthed Arcana information on the Wizard of the Coast website. Remember that the content is still in a playtest stage, and a). to work with your DM and party if you want to consider using it, and also b). to think about offering feedback about any options you do use.